Essex Landscapes and Seascapes

Castle Point

“I believe the Thames Estuary is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world”

Wilko Johnson, Guitarist with Dr Feelgood, Ian Dury and the Blockheads and The Wilko Johnson Band, born on Canvey Island

Castle Point was formed in 1974 by merging Benfleet and Canvey Island Urban Districts. Its name contains references to the principal landmarks of the combined urban districts: Hadleigh Castle and Canvey Point. The district was granted borough status in 1992.

Hadleigh Castle

“At Hadleigh there is a ruin of a castle which from its situation is a really fine place – it commands a view of the Kent hills, the Nore and North Foreland and looking many miles to sea”

John Constable RA – an English landscape painter in the Romantic tradition who painted Hadleigh Castle in 1829

Hadleigh Castle was first built by Hubert de Burgh, the 1st Earl of Kent, who was a key supporter of King John. De Burgh fell out of favour with Henry III and was imprisoned and stripped of Hadleigh Castle in 1239. For the rest of the century, Hadleigh was retained as a royal castle.

Edward II took a much closer interest in Hadleigh, and first stayed there in 1311. Isabella of France, took Hadleigh from Edward when she deposed him in 1326, then Edward III acquired Hadleigh Castle, when he recovered it from his mother. Edward III’s grandson, Richard II, made little use of Hadleigh, and the use of the castle passed from one high status owner to another. After 1544 the estate began to be broken up; first the parks were sold and then the castle itself, eventually the castle was dismantled for the value of its stone.

Hadleigh Castle is now an English Heritage site, and a popular site for families for picnics. In 2012, the adjoining park was the site for the Olympic mountain biking event.

April 2022

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